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NAACP ends its travel advisory against American Airlines, citing bias training

NAACP ends its travel advisory against American Airlines, citing bias training
The NAACP has lifted a travel advisory it issued against American Airlines last fall after a series of incidents. Above, American planes at Miami International Airport. (Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

Less than a year after the NAACP issued a travel advisory against American Airlines in response to a series of incidents involving African American passengers, the civil rights group has lifted the warning, citing progress in bias training and other changes by the carrier.

The NAACP issued the advisory in October, warning that African Americans flying on American Airlines could be subject to "disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions."

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But since then, the NAACP said, the Fort Worth airline has committed to a diversity and “inclusion gap analysis,” implicit bias training for the airline’s 130,000 employees and the adoption of a new discrimination complaint resolution process for both workers and fliers.

“We have worked with American Airlines for nearly a year, and they have taken substantive action to begin to address implicit bias,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement.

Asked if American Airlines made a donation to the NAACP after the travel advisory, Johnson responded in an email: "No amount of money from American Airlines would've made this travel advisory go away. We've worked with American Airlines for nearly a year, and they have taken considerable action to begin to address implicit bias. We're encouraged by their commitment and will continue to monitor their progress."

Doug Parker, chief executive and chairman of American Airlines, thanked the NAACP for lifting the advisory and said he looks forward to working with the organization “as we continue on this mission.”

When the NAACP issued the advisory, it cited several incidents, including one in which an African American woman who booked first-class tickets for herself and a white companion was switched to a coach seat while her white companion remained in first class.

In another incident cited by the NAACP, an African American man was removed from a plane in Washington, D.C., when he responded to "disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers."

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